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Weiwei-isms

by Ai Weiwei Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
11/2012
ISBN:
9780691157665
Format:
Hbk 152 pages
Price:
AU$27.99 NZ$28.69
Product Status: In Stock Now
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This collection of quotes demonstrates the elegant simplicity of Ai Weiwei’s thoughts on key aspects of his art, politics, and life. A master at communicating powerful ideas in astonishingly
few words, Ai Weiwei is known for his innovative use of social media to disseminate his views. The short quotations presented here have been carefully selected from articles,
tweets, and interviews given by this acclaimed Chinese artist
and activist. The book is organized into six categories:
freedom of expression; art and activism; government, power,
and moral choices; the digital world; history, the historical moment, and the future; and personal reflections.

Together, these quotes span some of the most revealing
moments of Ai Weiwei’s eventful career—from his risky investigation into student deaths in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to his arbitrary arrest in 2011—providing a window into the mind of one of the world’s most electrifying and courageous contemporary artists.


Introduction vii

On Freedom of Expression 1

On Art and Activism 23

On Government, Power, and Making Moral Choices 39

On the Digital World 69

On History, the Historical Moment,and the Future 77

Personal Reflections 91

Sources 103

Chronology 117

Acknowledgments 127

''This little book collects Ai's aphorisms, or 'Weiwei-isms,' distilled thoughts culled from Ai's writings, interviews, and Twitter posts on freedom of expression, human rights, art and activism, power and the government, and moral choices. . . . As brilliant and serious as Ai is, he is also companionable and uplifting . . .''
--Booklist

''[H]ere is a man who understands how to get messages to people. His expertise in artful dissemination is the 21st-century equivalent of Andy Warhol's brilliant populism. . . . [E]pigrammatic, pungent, uncompromising.''
--Peter Aspden, Financial Times

''Physically Weiwei-isms is a black, small hardbound book, fitting nicely into a jacket pocket and meant to be carried around, perused at chance moments and ruminated on. It knowingly bears a resemblance to the little red books that were given out by Chairman Mao in order to popularize his philosophies to his subjects. Yet, brainwashing is not the dastardly attempt of the author this time; it is more akin to brain-widening. Take a look for yourself. I feel safe in saying that some statement, one of his turns of phrase, will hit you like a punch in the gut, likely leaving an emotional bruise that will take great time and thought to recover from.''
-Luke Goldstein, Blogcritics

''If it's even possible to put a whole person into your pocket, Weiwei-isms comes close. . . . Unlike The Little Red Book, carrying Weiwei-isms isn't compulsory, but you'll find yourself compelled to read it again and again and fit it into your head and heart, if not your pocket.''
--Bob Duggan, Big Think

''For those who have been moved by his struggles with the Chinese authorities, who admire his art or dance along to his irreverent interpretation of Psy's 'Gangnam Style', taken up by artists and museums across the world on YouTube, Ai Weiwei's little book of sayings is for you.''
--Sarah Greenberg, Editor of RA Magazine
Ai Weiwei is one of China’s most influential and inspiring figures. Artist, architect, curator, and activist, he has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government’s stance on human rights and democracy. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Guangzhou Triennial, the Tate Modern, the Smithsonian, and other venues throughout the world.